Uses and Properties

Solvents are liquids which have the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other materials. They make it possible to process, apply, clean or separate materials. They are petroleum derivatives and enable the processing, application, cleaning or separation of materials.

Major applications segments comprise paints and coatings, pharmaceuticals, adhesives, printing inks, toiletries and cosmetics, detergents and water treatment, household and car care, rubber and polymer manufacturing, metal and industrial cleaning, agrochemicals and oil seed / food extraction and dry cleaning.

The solvents´ industry substantially contributes to the economic and social welfare in Europe: it directly employs more than 10.000 people in Europe, but indirectly accounts even for more than 10 million jobs, with more than half a million European companies using solvents in the very diversified application segments mentioned above. More than 80% of these companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Solvents’ manufacturers across Europe have an estimated combined turnover of about €5 billion. Companies using solvents have an estimated combined turnover of more than €200 bn.

The solvents cluster is made up of four organisations: the European Solvents Industry Group (ESIG), a joint activity of OSPA and HSPA; the Oxygenated Solvents Producers Association (OSPA); the Hydrocarbon Solvents Producers Association (HSPA) and the European Solvents Downstream Users Coordination (ESVOC), an industry forum for solvent producers and downstream users.

Issues and Regulations

REACH Implementation

The following consortia have emerged from OSPA and HSPA and manufacturers have joined efforts to prepare consistent registration dossiers covering:


Specific goals

  • For ESIG: To act as European focal point for all solvent-related issues and to manage these through a focused communication, advocacy and product stewardship programme.
  • For OSPA and HSPA: To foster the perception of the products represented by both OSPA and HSPA as valuable, eco-efficient, safe solutions which serve the needs of industry and solvents users including manufacturers and consumers of goods.
  • For ESVOC: This industry platform brings together solvent producers (ESIG) and about 30 downstream user associations in order to facilitate legal compliance and to share best practices, especially in the area of health, safety and environment.

Additional Information